The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and General Electric Africa have announced plans to launch the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge.
The Power Africa Challenge is a three-year, $2 million challenge that will award 20 or more grants of up to $100,000 each to African organizations providing off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power economic activities.
The challenge will benefit rural or urban populations currently underserved by existing utility companies, USADF and GE said. USADF is a public corporation in the U.S. federal government that funds African enterprises, cooperatives and community-based organizations to build capacity and expand economic activities.
GE Africa said:
The Power Africa Challenge will also promote innovative solutions that further develop, scale up or extend the use of proven technologies for off-grid energy. GE noted that African-owned and -operated businesses and organizations that are developing their own technologies, or acquiring and installing technology developed elsewhere, are eligible to apply.
U.S. government agencies and private corporations are working in concert with Power Africa, the White House-led initiative, to drive growth by increasing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power and by helping to ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources, GE Africa said.
USADF and GE will support initiatives that:
– Provide off-grid energy to rural or urban regions currently lacking energy access.
– Expand markets, test innovations and leverage financing with the goal of increasing the delivery of off-grid energy to marginalized populations.
– Introduce innovative payment or collection methods that can extend the reach of power delivery.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt issued the following statement:
“With seven in ten people in Africa still lacking access to modern electricity, reliable power is critical to unlocking the region’s economic and human potential. GE supports the Power Africa Initiative which provides leadership in addressing this vital need—a win for economic development in both Africa and the U.S. GE is committed to continuing to deepen our engagement and investment in Africa’s future in critical sectors like power-generation, transportation, and healthcare.”
USADF operates in 17 countries with more than 350 project grants, benefiting more than a million and a half Africans. It is the only U.S. agency exclusively centered on an African-led, grass-roots development model to encourage shared prosperity.